Has Dr. Dunnavant violated HIPAA rules in VA-12? (UPDATED)

siobhan_dunnavantVirginia Right has the story and it doesn’t look good for Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant in Virginia’s 12th Senate race:

I received a copy of a letter Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant sent to her patients concerning her campaign for Virginia Senate in the 12th District. The picture below is a bit small to read, but a PDF version is available by clicking this link.

It would appear that Dunnavant has accessed her patient files and sent a letter telling them she is running for Senate and what to expect during the legislative session should she win the seat.

And then the letter goes on to solicit help and volunteers for her campaign along with the campaign website.

At the very end of the letter, we are told that the letter was paid for and authorized by “Friends of Siobhan Dunnavant” which is her campaign.

The letter includes an attachment from the recipient warning that the letter was sent in violation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

News of this comes on the heels of Dunnavant going on the air earlier this week after struggling in a debate last week and seeing Bill Janis receive the endorsement of the NRA.

The biggest issue Dunnavant faces with this is the charge of hypocrisy against her campaign.

She’s been running as opposed to career politicians and as an answer to politics as usual (the doctor over the lawyers). The problem is, this move is absolutely politics as usual and something a career politico would do – further highlighting her THREE elected official siblings in the Hampton Roads area.

This also diminishes the “good doctor” image that Dunnavant has been trying to present, using her patient list for political purposes. It’s one thing to make patients aware of something that may limit your ability to practice – it’s another thing to turn that information into a political advertisement, a request for volunteers, and then use the practice’s patient portal as a means of communicating about your political activities. The letter is clearly meant to be political, not just informational doctor-patient communications, as it comes “Paid for and authorized by Friends of Siobhan Dunnavant.”

Dr. Dunnavant’s patients deserve an explanation as to why their private contact information was used by a political campaign. The voters in the 12th Senate District deserve to know why she would so blatantly violate HIPAA laws for her own personal gain.

Voters do deserve better than politics as usual in the Senate. Unfortunately, that choice may not be Dr. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant.

UPDATE: The Dunnavant campaign responded in the comments with a message from campaign manager Chad Cole:

We are familiar with this inquiry and we are comfortable with our actions taken to ensure that the communication in question was appropriate and in line with all applicable guidelines. In response to concerns that she might be leaving the practice to pursue office, Dr. Dunnavant reached out to the practice’s patients to inform them of steps she was taking to ensure continuity of care. She felt it was important that patients understand she would remain with the practice, and that she would still be available to provide care. Dr. Dunnavant discussed the matter with both her practice and legal counsel and no violation of patient privacy took place.

-Chad Cole, Campaign Manager

Tea Parties, Facebook, and Astroturf in the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Race

I should have known better. I do this kind of stuff for a living. But sometimes even I take a quick look at something and make false assumptions based on what is quickly available.

Yesterday The Bull Elephant called shenanigans on Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman claiming the endorsement of the Loudoun County Tea-Party:

That couldn’t be further from the truth. The page he refers to is a fake Loudoun Tea Party page, one that was set up to in 2011 solely to endorse Chapman for Sheriff. It’s a virtual Tea Party page only, it has no members and it has no meetings. It has no affiliation with the real Tea Party of Loudoun County, the group that meets in Loudoun on the second Tuesday of the month and is chaired by Dr. Daniel Brubaker.

There are two Facebook pages for Loudoun County Tea Parties.

One did indeed endorse Chapman for Sheriff, the LoudounCounty Tea-Party with 4723 likes.

The other has not endorsed, the Tea Party of Loudoun County with 82 likes (up from 30 yesterday afternoon).

There’s some debate on which group is the “real” Tea Party but that may go no where – there can be more than one Tea Party group for a locality.

The question then becomes one of legitimacy. Mainly, can the LCTP be viewed as a reliable, trusted source of information and endorsements that reflects the Tea Party and informs the public in general?

Many people look at 4700 likes and stop right there. That’s a lot of likes. But likes alone do not tell the full story of a Facebook page and the people behind it. Likes can be bought. Quantity alone is a false metric. Quality matters as well – what kind of engagement does the page have with its audience.

And the answer for LCTP is not very much.

Their most recent posts concerning the endorsement and attacking The Bull Elephant each pull a max of 21 total engagements (likes, shares, comments). That’s less than one half of a percent of the page’s total likes. Until recently, the page had very few posts in the last two years, and among those the engagement was in the single digit if it was above zero at all. Very few posts, if any, break above the 0.5% engagement rate.

The page also raises red flags in lacking any information about the group, any contact information, or even a single name of a person behind or driving the page’s content.

This page reeks of astroturf. It’s not the first instance of online shenanigans coming up in the sheriff’s race, but it certainly stands out when a campaign wants to wrap its arms around it. This is not to say the Chapman campaign can’t claim the endorsement. Clearly they got it. But I’d hope a campaign would do more to find out who is behind a group endorsing them to ensure legitimacy and even just to cover their own tails. Anonymous endorsements carry pitfalls that any campaign should be weary of.

Now, the TPofLC Facebook page is new. Honestly, it looks like it was built in response to the existence of the LCTP page. But they link to a website with more information, they have regular meetings, you can find names and faces. It at least is giving the appearance of legitimacy. LCTP fails on all points.

I don’t know the history, perhaps the LCTP was at one point the genuine deal and there was a split, or someone at some point saw an easy way to build a ready made audience for whatever on down the line. But as it stands now, the page looks illegitimate and its viewpoints are suspect and should be taken with a grain of salt.

File Under “For Real?” In Virginia’s 12th

There’s a four way fight for the Republican nomination to replace Walter Stosch in Virginia’s 12th District. Former Delegate Bill Janis seems to be the candidate with the largest bullseye on his back given his past representation in part of the district and being the only candidate with elected experience. Vince Haley is making some great noise and appealing to a lot of the Tea Party groups and his Newt Gingrich associations aren’t too bad either (though he did get a ding for not voting in last year’s Cantor/Brat primary). Edward Whitlock is also running and not much is really known about him but in a divided field there’s a lot or room to sneak through and surprise people.

That leaves Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, who is trying to carve out a position somewhere between Janis and Haley. She repeatedly beats the drum on typical Tea Party talking points: Obamacare bad, boo Common Care, and no Amnesty! Which isn’t a bad thing, even if it sounds canned and like she’s just checking off all of the boxes.

But with Janis being the elephant in the room, she’s taking an interesting approach by attacking “career politicians.” For example:

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Just one problem with this line of attack: She’s from a political family herself. In fact, it was the focus of coverage when she entered the race:

But Dunnavant — an obstetrician/gynecologist and West End mother of four who also runs a small health care business with her husband — is not a newborn in the Republican political nursery. She is the sister of Del. Christopher P. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who is also a physician. Another brother, Ken, is the sheriff of Virginia Beach and a former state senator.

No to career politicians but hooray for political dynasties?

Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a political family. But can a candidate who will be the third member of this generation of her family to serve in the General Assembly really attack “career politicians” with a straight face?

Personally, I’d love to see her take a strong stand on issues such a life and women’s health. Dunnavant is an OB/GYN and would be a strong counterweight to abortion loving Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam who loves to brag about being a doctor so knowing better on the range of issues from Obamacare to Women’s Health. She mentions pro-life values on her issues page but as a bullet point.

There’s a lot there for Dr. Dunnavant. But these canned approaches and “career politician” attacks that ignore her own family history don’t do her justice.

PWC Fire House Primary two days away

As we previously posted the PWC Republican Fire House primary is now just two days away.  In our previous post we provided our readers an opportunity to vote for their favorites in the races that will be on the ballot on Saturday in Prince William County.

Surprise, surprise our readers followed our endorsements, well except for the race for BOCS Chairman.  Does this mean the campaigns are over?  VV endorsed candidates are sure to win on Saturday?   NO!  Our polls don’t mean a hill of beans for what may transpire on Saturday.  We have no way to accurately measure how many voters that participated in our polls can actually vote in any of the elections on Saturday in PWC.   While fun to get a sense of what our readers think, and to kill time until election day, polls on blogs don’t mean squat.

The good news . . .it doesn’t appear any candidates or campaigns spent much time or effort trying to win our polls.  Hopefully all of the campaigns are doing what they need to be doing right now – contacting voters!  People who can actually vote for their candidates and decide PWC’s fate for the next four years.  Candidates that spend time worrying about what blog is endorsing them need to reexamine their priorities.

Good luck to all of the candidates on the ballot on Saturday in PWC.  Except for a select few, all of the candidates on the ballot on Saturday are worthy of carrying the Republican banner into the November general election.

48 hours candidates – STOP Reading BLOGS and get on the doors and get on the phones!

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Steve Chapman worries non-Repubicans might walk away from Republican Firehouse Primary on Saturday

This Saturday, Prince William County Republicans will choose their nominees in a series of firehouse primaries across the county. When they arrive, they’ll be asked to sign a statement of intent which simply says, “hey, you are choosing to participate in the Republican nominating process so it’d be nice if you’d pledge to support the actual Republican nominee come this November, whether or not it is your guy.” More or less.

To one candidate in particular, that is a bridge too far:

Steve Chapman, who is running for the Republican nominee for Woodbridge supervisor, said he’s concerned voters could be turned off by the “statement of intent.”

“It would be terrible for the party if a bunch of people come in and feel disenfranchised because they have to sign a blood oath to the Republican Party or be turned away,” Chapman said. “That’s un-American.”

“Un-American,” he says. Like a Constitutional right to free association granted to political parties not by a Supreme Court decision or the highest document in the land but by our Creator himself?

Or how about the well documented series of great “American” acts like adultery, threatening a 9 year old girl, and just being a jerk as documented regularly by BVBL?

Mr. Chapman, Steve if you will, Steve-o if I may, who exactly are you trying to get and come vote for you that would be offended to say they’ll support the Republican nominee in November even if it isn’t you?

Also, you do realize it’s non-binding, right? No pin prick, no knife and bowls, no ceremony of any sort, no one checking your ballot come November and hauling you off to a reeducation camp for voting the wrong way (Republicans don’t do that, Democrats do /snark).

Get over yourself, Steve-o. And be ready for the people of Woodbridge to elect Lee Price to be the Republican on the ballot in November – and the next Supervisor out of Woodbridge.

And I do hope you’ll vote for him in November, Steve-o.

Prince William County Fire House Primary – Saturday April 25

On Saturday April 25th voters from across the county in Prince William County will be going to the polls to set nominees for the Republican ticket for the fall elections.   In what is called a Fire House Primary voters will have  from 10am to 3pm to go to designated polling locations to vote for their choice to represent the Republican Party in the November election.

This year’s election in Prince William County is shaping up to be the most exciting election in Prince William County since 2003.  With an anti-incumbent sentiment growing in the county otherwise expected shoe-in incumbents are facing strong challenges for their party’s nomination.  For Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors Corey Stewart is facing a challenge from newcomer Chris Crawford and in the Coles District Marty Nohe is facing a challenge from Paul O’Meara.

Virginia Virtucon has been watching the races that are on the ballot Saturday and have made our endorsements.  Below find all of the candidates on the ballot and our label next to those we find to be the best choice for the future of Prince William County.



Race Candidate Candidate
11021530_1391559871164039_2734001692066890660_o Glen Hill
1284d7b Mike Messier
Clerk of Court
52e203a3e9c98.image Michele McQuigg
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n Austin Haynes
BOCS Chairman
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n Corey Stewart
crawford Chris Crawford
Coles Supervisor
VOT_Martin_E_Marty_Nohe_8057_1317409020 Marty Nohe
O'Meara169 Paul O’Meara
Occoquan Supervisor
Anderson_Headshot (2) Ruth Anderson
11156253_444984835675392_4506503143123809939_n Donald Scroggins
Woodbridge Supervisor
1234744_10151658168908269_128633255_n1 Lee Price
s6-2-257x300 Steve Chapman

Tell Us what you think about the races in PWC – who would you vote for?

Follow-up On Slating… And A Word About The Sully Mess

A little over a week ago, I wrote here about the slating affair of last year and what its lasting consequences have been, are, and should be. A few days later, I got an email from Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72nd) expressing his concerns that he was being unfairly named as one of the slaters. He copied the illustrious T. Boulden on it, asking me to retract that part of my post. So I again reached out to some Henrico activist folks I know that were at the Henrico mass meeting. What I got back was interesting.

Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73rd) actually taunted someone before the meeting, sticking his finger in the guy’s face, saying “When your side starts winning elections, then we can sit down and talk.”

Whoops. How’d that work out for you? See you in 2017.

Both O’Bannon and Linwood Cobb clearly were in on the slating, and Janis was seen whispering with Cobb at the back of the room. And… “Massie addressed the audience before the voting began to prepare our side for losing. He said we had to ‘leave there and stay friends after the vote.’ After the vote, I went up to Jimmie and asked him if we were still friends?”

Also, these letters went out shortly before the Henrico County mass meeting (editorializing and highlighting not mine, this is the state in which I got them):


Remarkably like some emails that went out in Hampton Roads before the meetings down there, which were courtesy of Ray Allen and the YG Virginia crowd, aren’t they? Bearing in mind as well that O’Bannon was obviously involved in the planning and execution of the Henrico slating effort, it certainly doesn’t look good to be coordinating with him.

To sum up, I stand by my previous post.

Moving on to the Sully Supervisor primary, I just want to state that while I’m personally a firm supporter of John Guevara in that race, the attack on Brian Schoeneman yesterday was ridiculous. He went to his personal network, as every smart candidate does, to raise money. Not a thing wrong with that.


A year later… “Get over it.” Not a CHANCE.

So it appears that many Republican members of the General Assembly that supported the Cantor/Young Guns-led slating effort at county conventions last year will be unopposed for nomination this year. More’s the pity. These are the very people who need to be held responsible… and when I say ‘held responsible’, I mean ‘defeated and sent home’. It’s been roughly a year since that (thankfully largely unsuccessful) effort went down, and somehow Frank Wagner and Scott Taylor, the most odious of this bunch, have escaped primary challenges. It seems the entire Hampton Roads/TowneBank mafia/delegation was involved. The only good news is that Sen. Jeff McWaters (R-8th) is retiring, but his buddy, and fellow slater, Del. Bill DeSteph, is all set up with McWaters’ support for the nomination.
However, this is one place where there is an opportunity to hold a slater accountable in a primary. DeSteph is opposed by Craig Hudgins, a former Marine and grassroots conservative, with the support of local tea party activists. I encourage every Republican to do whatever they can to support Mr. Hudgins.
Another opportunity is in the 12th Senate District, which is also an open seat. The establishment-backed candidate is former Delegate Bill Janis, who supported slating. Siobhan Stolle Dunnavant is also running… yes, she’s another member of the slatin’ Stolle dynasty from Hampton Roads, and as such, is to be opposed. From what I’ve heard from locals, she’s not particularly impressive. Thankfully, there is also Vince Haley, a tea party backed conservative who has the personal support of Newt Gingrich, which has helped him raise quite a few dollars. He’s also brought aboard Zach Werrell, the young campaign manager of Dave Brat’s primary upset of slater-in-chief Eric Cantor last year. Just as with Mr. Hudgins, it’s vital to support Mr. Haley in this primary.
As to the other slaters who will coast to nomination unopposed, it would seem an opportunity has been lost this year. This includes Wagner, Taylor, all the Stolles currently in office, Barry Knight, Jimmie Massie, and DeSteph’s minion Jason Miyares, who was parachuted in to fill DeSteph’s current House seat, and no doubt quite a few others. The grassroots will just have to wait until 2017 (or 2019, in the case of Senators) to challenge them. There’s always the general election, and the possibility of their defeat there. You might well think I’d support that, but as a Republican, I couldn’t possibly comment.
The common refrain from the slaters and their supporters in response to this is some version of “Get over it. It happened.” This is patently ridiculous. As a certain former RPV chairman once told me, it’s not often that people show you who they really are in politics. The slating effort was one such moment, and it was very illuminating, and not something these people can paper over or take back. “Whoops, sorry” isn’t going to do it. Their arrogance and entitlement shows how little respect they have for those they claim to represent.
Our outstanding current state chairman, John Whitbeck, is focused on uniting the party behind conservative principles, and is working hard to right the ship across the board. I know this is the last thing he needs, but from the perspective of the grassroots, this has to take precedence. Never forget.

A New ‘Arlington Way’



So, retiring Arlington County Board member Walter Tejada seems worried. In a speech to the Arlington County Democratic Committee last week, he seemed to be fretting that Arlington might, “allow ourselves to become a new Arlington of rich, entitled people, lacking in compassion, empathy and a sense of community, viscerally opposed to government of any kind, opposed to everything in alleged overspending on every front?” Perish the thought, Walter.

God forbid we deviate from the genius path the Arlington Democrat establishment has set us on, the vaunted ‘Arlington Way’. This essentially means expanding ‘affordable housing’, better known as ‘housing projects’ or subsidized housing, to the rest of us. But that is not the politically correct term. It also goes hand in hand with “giving immigrants safe haven”, which means functioning as a borderline sanctuary city for illegals. Both of these bright ideas, of course, are in great part responsible for the schools capacity crunch the county finds itself in, by bringing in a lot of low-income people who would not otherwise reside in Arlington, who burden the county’s infrastructure and public services, not the least of which are… schools. This means that despite the relatively large county budget, and the repeated contraction of debt through bonds, the county has failed to keep up its roads, for example, or its infrastructure, for another. The roads in Glencarlyn, the author’s neighborhood, are in disrepair, pitted with cracks and potholes that patchwork repair jobs cannot fix, and need to be repaved completely.

Perhaps the absolute worst part about the ‘affordable housing’ fixation is the borderline bribery that goes on to make it happen. Developers often have to underwrite a project the Board majority wants in order to get approval to build. All too often, this means guaranteeing a certain number of housing units as ‘affordable’. Other times it can include things like a halfway house. As current Arlington County Republican Committee chairman Matt Wavro has expressed on numerous occasions in the past, you shouldn’t have to qualify for a government program to live in Arlington.

All of this has also meant steadily increasing property taxes in Arlington. At bottom, what the ‘Arlington Way’ is about, is making everyone dependent on the government, mainly divided into two groups. The first are the low-income residents whose support is bought with government candy such as ‘affordable housing’ or other taxpayer-funded goodies. The second are the guilt-laden limousine liberal types who are shamed by politicians like Tejada into carrying the cost of this statist monstrosity. This combined majority can then be wielded against others, including property and business owners, as it has been.

The good news is that this year’s elections may offer a chance to halt this runaway train, with Tejada and Mary Hynes both declining to seek re-election in the wake of John Vihstadt’s two electoral victories in 2014. The Arlington County Republican Committee should take the lead in standing against the ‘Arlington Way’. We can do this by outlining an alternative, free-market focused vision. What should this be? First, we should promise to make core county services an absolute priority, rather than pushing an ideological agenda, as the Democrats have. Maintain the roads and infrastructure, and put a stop to things like the Artisphere being greenlighted in the first place. Second, we should stand against ANY tax increases, but most immediately against property tax increases, particularly when they are used to further a particular agenda. Third, we should oppose ‘affordable housing’. This may seem like a tough thing in Arlington, but Vihstadt’s victory and the fall of the streetcar project have shown that Arlingtonians are open to fiscal sanity, if we lay out the vision and explain it properly. Fourth, we should never cede offices like the school board to the Democrats. They should face serious opposition whenever plausible.

We may never have a better opportunity than this year. Let’s seize it.


This just in, the Prince William County Board of Elections has denied a request from a handful of Republican candidates to be included on the June 9 state primary ballot after the PWC GOP missed the Feb. 24 filing deadline with the State Board of Elections to request primaries in those races. Some of those candidates are now considering suing to be placed on the ballot in lieu of having to battle it out in so-called firehouse primaries run by the Republican Party.

The candidates impacted by this decision are Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (Potomac), Peter Candland (Gainesville), Marty Nohe (Coles) and Sheriff Glen Hill. While Candland would probably do even better in a firehouse primary than in a state-run primary if he were challenged, Caddigan and Nohe would be in great danger of losing in such an atmosphere (Nohe faces Paul O’Meara and Caddigan is currently unopposed, but this may draw out a challenger).

Even Stewart faces a greater threat in a party-run nominating contest as he has angered many party regulars with his non-election year antics of tax increases, cronyism and unrestrained residential growth — issues that Chris Crawford is using to go against him for the nomination. Hill’s GOP primary opponent, however, is a perennial candidate who was the right-hand man of the previous Democratic county sheriff.

For a county that likes to talk about “The Rule of Law” quite a bit, these folks make it appear that such a phrase is “for thee, but not for me.” The deadline was missed. There are consequences to that, even if they were not the cause. Furthermore, if one is truly a small government Republican, they he or she should welcome the party running its own nomination process and paying for it rather than saddling the taxpayers with the cost of a state-run primary.

Steve Chapman Rides Again!

You may recall former candidate for Virginia Delegate Steve Chapman’s disastrous 2006 campaign. We certainly do. In fact, going back through Virtucon’s archives, we’ve found some photos from his kick-off event:

And more here:

And who could forget him seeking “sponcers” for his campaign? Or him missing the filing deadline to run? That was a classic that Scott Jacobs’ recent imitation of was but a pale copy.

Well, Steve Chapman rides again and is now running for Woodbridge Supervisor and wouldn’t you know it, his old nemesis Black Velvet Bruce Li is back as well. Last go round, Chapman sued one of the bloggers behind that site and that case was ultimately dismissed. It appears that didn’t make him any friends with BVBL as it is roaring back with a vengeance with a series of posts about Chapman that starts off with “In today’s installment of Are you smarter than a bag of hammers?

Go make some popcorn. This is going to be a long show…

Virginia Democrats Really Want The Senate Back

The Bull Elephant gets the conversation started:

Currently Republicans hold the Virginia House of Delegates by 2 to 1. Republicans have no such hold on the Virginia Senate where they hold 21 seats and the Democrats have 19. Democrats are hopeful that they can take back control of the Senate in November. Their first target is the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. The district has voted democrat over the last few years.

Democrats will also challenge Frank Wagner, R-Virginia Beach and the seat being vacated by Jeff McWaters, another Virginia Beach Republican.

Democrats are also looking at three more Senate seats although these will be much more difficult to flip, Senators Richard H. Black, R-Loudoun, Bryce E. Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, and William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin.

Those are a lot of seats in play. Realistically, the Democrats only have a chance in about two or three with Watkins topping the list. Even Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment says they view the 10th District as competitive. But Democrats only need one to put the Senate back into a tie with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam breaking any ties. And they NEED that one because Dems are quickly losing their Republican-lite counterparts in Sens. Stosch and Watkins (and maybe Hanger).

Republicans aren’t about to just sit back and play defense. They’re eyeing a few pick ups themselves, starting with the seat being vacated by Dem Sen. Chuck Colgan in Prince William County. They’re also aiming for Sen. Lynwood Lewis, who barely won Northam’s old seat in a special election, and John Edwards in Roanoke, the last Democrat senator in SWVA.

But this battle won’t just be between the Senate caucuses. The Governor is coming to play. Sitting Governors usually find themselves with plenty of money and influence to throw around at these races, but Terry McAuliffe is a special case, and he knows it. And it’s not just about the Senate – McAuliffe is looking to build an operation that not just takes back the State Senate but lays the groundwork for Clinton 2016:

“I’m laying the groundwork and putting all the pieces in place for ’15 to get my Senate back,” McAuliffe said. “But that same team I’m putting in place and operations will be a set-up to make sure that [in 2016] Virginia’s blue.”

“MY SENATE BACK” the Governor says.

Hopefully the people of Virginia will have something to say about who the Senate really belongs to.

Virginia’s 24th Senate Race And The Bullying Of Emmett Hanger

UPDATED: This post previously stated that the 24th District Committee was suing the Republican Party. They aren’t. They’re suing the Commonwealth.

Emmett Hanger has a bullseye on him.

He’s served in the State Senate for nearly 20 years and has been a thorn in the side of Conservatives for a long while now, often siding with retiring Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins in joining Democrats on key close votes. He deserves a challenge from his right – which could be achieved by just about anyone running as a Republican.

Hanger is running for reelection but his district is in legal limbo after the 24th Senate District’s Republican District Committee opted to nominate by convention instead of the Primary Hanger wanted – which conflicts with Virginia State Law which allows incumbents to choose their method of nomination – also known as the Incumbent Protection Act:

“A party shall nominate its candidate for election for a General Assembly district where there is only one incumbent of that party for the district by the method designated by that incumbent, or absent any designation by him, by the method of nomination determined by the party,” states section 24.2-509 (B) of the Virginia Code. In this case, the incumbent is Sen. Emmett Hanger and that law means he could choose an open primary or a convention for Republican voters to decide if he gets the party’s nomination for another term. The idea of an open primary however, where independent and Democratic voters could also weigh in, doesn’t sit well with members of the committee.

“The committee members are very much in agreement that the constitutional principal of freedom of association has been violated by this Incumbent Protection Act,” said committee chairman Ken Adams, who also serves as chairman of the Waynesboro Republican Committee. “This violation of the Constitution is offensive to the committee.”

This lawsuit led The Bull Elephant to speculate on whether or not Hanger would retire – even though little conversation had been had over any potential retirement.

[I]f Hanger were to force the issue and designate by Tuesday a state-run open primary as his method of renomination, he would probably trigger the litigation that has been waiting in the wings, which stands a very good chance of eliminating the biggest protection for incumbents in Virginia law, once and for all.**

But, if you’re Emmet Hanger and are faced with the possibility of leaving a legacy of defeat and upsetting the applecart for many of your colleagues for years to come, the best option may be to follow the example of Hanger’s old famously unconservative GOP colleague in the Senate, John Chichester, who made the choice to retire when faced with a similar threat in 2007 (and who has made a new life for himself by endorsing every statewide Democrat candidate since).

So, what will it be? Will Hanger choose to retire, thus ensuring preservation of the Incumbent Protection Act for at least another election cycle, or will he tough it out and see if he can fend off the legal challenge and maybe hold on to his seat for another 4 years? I think the odds favor the former option.

TBE is saying it’s Senator Hanger’s fault that there is any lawsuit because he chose to run again and declared a state run primary as the means of nomination in the 24th District. Because the moment Hanger said he was ready to go, the 24th District Committee filed suit.

Keep in mind, it’s not Emmett Hanger who is suing fellow Republicans the state in order to defeat fellow Republicans.

The Virginia Conservative piled on, asking if the 24th GOP nomination was decided:

Yesterday, on March 2nd, the deadline to file as a candidate for the convention came and went. Surprisingly, only one candidate filed, Dan Moxley. According to the call, given that there is only one candidate, the convention will be cancelled and Moxley will be declared the official nominee.

Now, one can make an argument as to why Emmett Hanger didn’t file his paperwork for this convention. After all, doing so would add some legitimacy to a convention that he will be fighting in court. From a political perspective, Hanger would face a considerably uphill battle in a convention as it would likely be populated by Republican activists eager to oust Hanger due to his support of Medicaid expansion and previous tax hikes.

That second paragraph is key: why would Hanger file for an illegal convention?

Any lawsuit is going to face an uphill battle. While the Party does have a right to self association, the Party Plan explicitly states that committees can choose a nomination process only as permitted under Virginia Law:

1. Legislative District Committee
a. The Legislative District Committee shall determine whether candidates for Legislative District public office shall be nominated by Mass Meeting, Party Canvass, Convention or Primary, where permitted to do so under Virginia Law.

Emphasis ours. Virginia Law says the incumbent gets to choose. The Party Plan says that applies.

Efforts to tear Hanger down before session even ended didn’t work. Daring him to run seems to have succeeded in ensuring he was in the race — and the 24th District Republican Committee has chosen to sue its own party, not just over state law but the Party Plan.

Mike Farris endorses Steve Martin for Senate

Senator Steve Martin, facing two challengers for the Republican nomination in the 11th District, landed a big endorsement from Michael Farris, former Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College.

I write to you today to give my personal endorsement of Senator Steve Martin for his re-election this year. I have known Steve for many years, and have been impressed with the consistent, Conservative leadership that he provides in the Virginia Senate. He is a man of his word – and he is the leader that Virginia, and its citizens, needs representing our conservative values in the Senate.

Steve is a man of sincere faith, and has allowed his faith to guide him in every decision he makes and each vote he casts as Senator. It is because of his faith that Steve is steadfastly pro-life and continually upholds traditional marriage. His consistent leadership on these issues as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health has earned him top ratings from the Family Foundation and the American Conservative Union.

Steve has been a leader in the fight against Obamacare here in Virginia. He was author and chief patron for Virginia’s Healthcare Freedom Act, which enabled Ken Cuccinelli to file suit against the federal government over this horrendous piece of federal legislation. Steve has also consistently opposed big government efforts to expand Medicaid in our state – not only in his rhetoric, but also in his voting record.

Steve has been vocal in his support for religious liberty and homeschooling rights. Steve supported the “Tebow bill” to grant homeschoolers access to school sports every year it came before the legislature, and worked this year to get it through the Senate successfully. Vey importantly, Steve has unwaveringly supported parental rights – including working to make sure options for homeschooling parents remain open and available, free from government interference.

Steve is a man with solid, Conservative principles, and he provides leadership that never strays from those principles. If you want proven Conservative leadership, I urge you to get involved with Steve’s campaign for re-election.

Let’s continue to support leaders in Virginia who work for our principles and for our people. Vote for Steve Martin on June 9th.


Michael Farris

Glen Sturtevant announces for Virginia’s 10th Senate race


That didn’t take long.

Just the other day we asked if Republicans could do better than Bruce Tyler in Virginia’s 10th Senate District and already there’s another contender in the ring. Meet Glen Sturtevant:

In a district that’s fairly Chesterfield heavy there’s still room for more challengers south of the James River, but Sturtevant’s entry gives voters another experienced choice on the ballot without Bruce Tyler’s baggage. Stephen Thomas could make some noise, especially if he’s willing to self finance, but his resume is thin compared to Sturtevant and Tyler – and even the Democrat challengers in the race.

More may still enter, but this is already shaping up to be an interesting race.

UPDATE: Bearing Drift has a great interview with Glen Sturtevant here. From their post:

In our discussion, the 32-year-old talks about his already full background that includes growing up in Spotsylvania, graduating from George Mason, marrying his college sweetheart (who became a schoolteacher and helped him navigate through law school), and adopting three kids (5,2, and 1). He has also managed in a short period of time to bring fiscal sanity to Richmond Schools.

Sturtevant hopes to bring that same fiscal discipline to Richmond, complete with zero-base budgeting, an audit of every state agency, and the publishing of each government entity’s check registry. Now that’s transparency!

Crossposted at RedRVA

Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Virginia Republicans hold the slimmest of majorities in the State Senate but sometimes that’s in name only. Often Republicans are having to watch close votes fail because moderate members of their own party swing to the Democrats on the issues that really matter – like standing strong against the federal Medicaid expansion of stopping tax hikes. This year Republicans will have a unique opportunity not just to pick up seats but finally swing some of these more moderate seats to reliable conservative votes in the Senate with the retirement of Senators Walter Stosch and John Watkins.

The 12th District race looks to be a madhouse to replace Stosch with up to five candidates announced including some strong contenders like former Delegate Bill Janis and Stosch’s hand picked Siobhan Stolle-Dunnavant but the 10th District so far leaves a lot of people wanting for a real choice for a Republican nominee.

So far two have announced for State Senate – former Richmond City Councilman Bruce Tyler and State Central member Stephen Thomas. While Thomas’s resume looks impressive from a party politics perspective his lack of political experience could hurt in a field of solid Democratic challengers including Chesterfield Supervisor Daniel Gecker among others. Though his ability to self-fund, including a $50,000 initial infusion of cash could help.

The current alternative Bruce Tyler, on the other hand, is a risky bet for Republicans, in part because of a gorgeous but very expensive alley as detailed by Steve Thomas (no relation to Stephen Thomas we think) on Virginia Virtucon:

For those not familiar, Bruce Tyler was a Republican member of Richmond City Council (1st District) until he was beaten by conservative Democrat Jon Baliles, son for former Gov. Gerald Baliles (D). Tyler had positioned himself as the moderate in that race.

Why is this relevant?

Baliles beat Tyler, in part, because of the “$316,000 alley”.

You see, it seems that Tyler steered $316,000 to create a “green alley” in the one behind his house, while Richmond City roads suffered (as anyone who has driven in the City could attest to).

Quoeth Baliles:

“If you look at it, it looks like the Taj Mahal of alleys”

“I do support green alleys. I don’t support green alleys that cost [$316,000],”

That’s right, the Democrat was able to out-conservative the Republican because of cronyistic spending by the incumbent, who was bounced from office.

Tyler took a while to lose, fighting for absentee ballots and recounts for a while before eventually conceding the race.

But the self-serving and very expensive alley isn’t Tyler’s only problem.

Remember that economic downturn of 2008-2009 that we’re still trying to recover from? Right in the heart of that Bruce Tyler advocated for City Council members to receive a pay raise. At a time when families were being forced to scrimp and save, when budgets were being trimmed while families were losing their homes, Tyler wanted more money for elected officials.

Del. Manoli Loupassi said it was a terrible time to even discuss the issue and urged them to drop it.

Even after leaving office, Tyler has remained active in Richmond politics, advocating heavily for a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom, a divisive issue in the city and surrounded suburbs, but one made more interesting by the face that Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a huge proponent of the stadium, is also the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, which owns property right in the heart of the proposed plan and would make quite a bit of money should the proposal go through. This ballpark debate is heated enough, but in one heated exchange, Tyler had a confrontation with Jon Baliles mother, leading Baliles to say:

[H]e hopes that going forward, constituents will bring their concerns directly to him: “If Mr. Tyler wants to tell me what he thinks then he should come to me rather than attack my mother.”


So this leads to the question (and the title of the post): Is Bruce Tyler the best Republicans can do in Virginia’s 10th Senate District?

Stephen Thomas may be that guy, but there are other appealing options open to Republicans that we can hope may enter the race. Multiple media reports have mentioned Richmond School Board member Glen Sturtevant who would be an interesting addition to the race.

With the fate of the Senate in the balance, this is a must win race for Republicans. And it needs to be a Republican willing to stand up for Republican values. We need to make sure Watkins isn’t replaced by another Watkins kind of Republican – or a Democrat.

Who would you like to see run? Share your ideas in the comments!

(Crossposted to RedRVA)

Whitbeck Slams Stimpson Campaign

Earlier this week, Susan Stimpson’s campaign for House of Delegates against Speaker William Howell sent out an inflammatory  email accusing the Republican Party of Virginia of endorsing Howell in their Primary.

A response to Susan Stimpson:

Yesterday you alleged that RPV staff acted to secretly support a candidate in a nominating process. These allegations are not true.

As you know, the RPV has not endorsed either candidate in your primary and I have said repeatedly that neither I nor the Party will pick sides in a nominating process during my tenure. I vehemently reject your assertion that donations to the Republican Party will go to support tax increases. I have said that the RPV must stand for something, and in this case, that “something” is the Virginia Republican Creed. Any donations from any source will be put towards that effort.

As you are aware, the RPV has sent out legislative district surveys for years. These surveys aren’t about getting anyone elected, they are about holding elected officials accountable. These mail pieces that ask constituents where they stand on issues. We want our GOP leaders to be responsive to their districts — that’s why we send them to Richmond. It may be easy for a legislator to ignore a phone call or email, but when RPV brings the opinions of several hundred constituents to a legislative office at one time (prior to the legislative session, no less) the impact is unmistakable.

I think your email should have contained the entire survey so I’ve attached the whole image below.

Not every legislator works with RPV on this project. The ones that do meet a strict standard. No mail is sent after the General Assembly Session convenes, and this particular mailing met that standard despite the post office delivering it several weeks late. The mailers contain no electioneering material, and they’re returned to RPV. That ensures that they will wind up in the hands of the legislators in question, and not be shunted off to some third party to harvest email addresses. Completed surveys are delivered during the General Assembly session for a reason — so our GOP members will have the thoughts and concerns of their voters in front of them when it matters most: while they’re casting votes.

While I disagree with your characterizations and the wrong information in your email, we will be revisiting existing standards for mail at our next Executive Committee meeting next week.

John Whitbeck, Chairman
Republican Party of Virginia


John Guevara, Candidate for Sully District Supervisor

Conservative John Guevara has announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for Sully District Supervisor. His press release:


Press Contact: Chris Farmer, Campaign Manager 703-431-9243

John Guevara Announces Run for Sully District Supervisor Conservative candidate to fill the vacancy left open by the retirement of Michael Frey

FAIRFAX- John Guevara announced today that he intends to seek the Republican nomination for Sully District Supervisor. The seat is being vacated by the retiring Michael Frey, a Republican and the only one to hold this seat since it was created in 1991.

“I am running for Sully District Supervisor because I understand the needs of our community,” said Guevara. “I am always looking for ways to serve my community and I am very excited about the opportunity to earn the vote of the residents of my district.”

Guevara works as a Manager, Professional Service for a large telecommunications service provider and has served his community in a variety of ways. Guevara was on the PTO Board at Navy Elementary for two terms, and was president of his HOA for several years. Recently, he was selected as Vice President of the Board for the Western Fairfax Christian Ministries, a nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to supporting local families in need with emergency food and financial assistance. He has also volunteered his time as a youth sports coach and Cub Scouts Den Leader. He is a war-time veteran of the U.S. Army.

“I have often wondered how is it possible that we live in such a prosperous district yet have a significant number of families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Guevara. “How can we have a $2.5 billion school budget and yet have overcrowding in more than 30% of our elementary schools? Or, how can we spend billions of dollars on mass transit only to continue to sit in traffic day after day after day? We have to address these and other pressing issues but we have to do it with smarter, no-nonsense management. Throwing different people with the same ideas at these problems is political insanity. I am a first-generation Hispanic American who has earned the American Dream. Growing-up in near-poverty, I learned the importance of sacrifice and the value of working hard, which I applied to my education and to my careers in IT and the U.S. Army. We need a new face, a person who has management, business, and people skills to tackle these local issues that affect our families. I am that candidate.”

Sully District Supervisor is a position on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The district is made up of Centreville, Chantilly, Clifton and Oakton.

Guevara has lived in Sully for the last 15 years with his high school sweetheart, Marilyn. They have two sons, Peter and Nathan, who both attend Fairfax County public schools.

Newcomer to Sully, the inventor of “Election Recount by Social Media”, the less conservative Brian Schoeneman, is also running for the seat.

Learn more about John Guevara and his views here,  here and here.

<<<Cross posted at The Bull Elephant>>>

With Deterrents Gone, PWC Supervisors Return To Their Free-Spending Ways






Remember the good ol’ days of the Cold War when the American nuclear arsenal (and later President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) had the deterrent effect of keeping the Soviets in line? The threat of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) actually made the world safe in an ironic sort of way.

The same applies politically. When it is an election year and elected officials face potential primary challenges, they tend to get religion pretty quickly and try to race as fast as they can back to their party’s base in order to survive. If they do, you can count on them reverting to their old ways 9 out of 10 times as survivors of these political deathbed conversions rarely keep their newfound faith for it was merely the threat of a challenge that kept them in line.

Witness today’s vote of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to rescind $12 million previously approved by the board to bury power lines along a one mile stretch of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

For nearly two hours [Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Peter] Candland contended that defunding the power line project was the right move, and said that funding could be better spent on adding additional classrooms to crowded schools, purchasing new buses for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, expand the county’s jail, or build six new miles of sidewalks in neighborhoods known for their incomplete pedestrian pathways, or “sidewalks to nowhere.”

“When you come up here and this Board says ‘we just don’t’ have the money,’ weight that on the burial of the power lines,” said Candland.

In the end, only Candland and newly-elected Brentsville Dist. Supervisor Jeanine Lawson voted to rescind the money so it could be put to a higher priority use. Both of the board’s Democrats and the other four Republicans – Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Marty Nohe (Coles), Mike May (Occoquan) and Maureen Caddigan (Potomac) – voted to keep this spending project in place. Never mind that this is something VDOT and not the county should be paying for or the fact that the county has much greater unmet needs that they are always talking about how we do not have enough money to cover and therefore we must endure tax hike after tax hike. (At last count, the county’s 5-year plan envisioned a 25% property tax hike over that period of time.)

Now, by way of my reference of the Cold War I’m NOT calling Caddigan a communist (as that would imply that she actually held some ideological core beliefs and subscribed to a set political philosophy, things no one would ever accuse her of) or any of her colleagues on the Board. But it is interesting that for the past six months or so the Potomac Dist. Supervisor had seemed to have found the conservative religion when Virtucon’s founder and local community leader Jim Riley had been gearing up to challenge her in the 2015 Republican primary. Unfortunately, last week Riley had to take himself out of contention due to work considerations. It only took until the next Board meeting for her to revert to form.

Likewise, last week Candland decided against a run for county chairman and it is all but certain now that former Del. Jeff Frederick will also pass on a 2015 primary challenge to Stewart. Nohe dodged a bullet when D.J. Jordan decided the time was not right for him to enter the political fray (although Nohe may still be in for the fight of his political life against Paul O’Meara whose background makes him a sort of conservative doppelgänger to Nohe.) May has announced he will not seek reelection and instead will run for Commonwealth’s Attorney.

So, with Candland, Frederick, Jordan and Riley all dropping their expected primary challenges to incumbents on the Board, the deterrent factor keeping them in line has just evaporated. Prince William’s Board has returned to its free-spending ways. While no one should be shocked by this, we should all feel embarrassed that these charlatans are the best that we can do here.

Chris Winslow for Chesterfield Supervisor

A few days ago, long time Chesterfield Supervisor Art Warren announced he will not seek a 7th term representing the Clover Hill District on the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors. Art has devoted several decades to public service, including working for the Virginia Department of Emergency Services, and anyone who knows him knows he will always be on the lookout for new ways to serve his community.

Running for the seat with Art’s endorsement is Chris Winslow, a 35 year-old husband, father, attorney who co-owns his own small business, Navy veteran, homeowner, and local activist who represents the Clover Hill District on Chesterfield County’s Committee on the Future and has served as President of his Rotary Club. In addition to his activities in the community, he is a leader on the Chesterfield County Republican Committee, having served for several years as the Committee’s Vice-Chairman for Special Projects. Having known Chris for many years, I can say with total confidence that his a leader Chesterfield County needs to help lead us into the future, and I’m proud to give him my support.

Chris’s top priorities include:

1. Instituting zero-based budgeting in Chesterfield County, so that each county department has to justify the amount of money they request, rather than simply relying on “last year’s” numbers.

2. Closely examining Chesterfield County’s budget to eliminate wasteful spending so that Chesterfield families are not faced with increased property taxes.

3. Adopting favorable tax, zoning, and regulatory policies so that businesses will want to locate in Chesterfield County.

4. Working with the Chesterfield County School Board to give parents as much control over their children’s education as possible.

5. Fully supporting Chesterfield’s courageous public safety offices.

Because it’s been 24 years since this has been an open seat, it is very likely that there are a large number of possible candidates considering running. However, I am proud to support the one candidate who has already stepped forward, and who has demonstrated his leadership skills and his commitment to providing Chesterfield County with sound, conservative, Republican leadership as the county continues to grow and change, Chris Winslow.

BREAKING: Candland Announces He Will Seek Re-election As Gainesville Supervisor, Passes on PWC Chairman Challenge

Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Pete Candland announced tonight that he will run for reelection rather than seek the county chairmanship in a GOP primary against incumbent Corey Stewart. Candland stated that he will seek to build a 5-vote coalition on the Board to change the course of government in Prince William County and will endorse in other races, including challengers to incumbents.

More to come…